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Rebel without a clue

Hey, so, uh, it’s November, yeah? Y’all know what that means…

But! For those who don’t, let me ‘splain. 

Ya see, November is also known as National Novel Writing Month – or NaNoWriMo for short. A lot of writers in my circle take part, challenging themselves in various ways since none of us really need that 50k word goal to get us to write. We may not write that much all the time, but we do tend to actually put words down fairly consistently. One of the most popular challenges among the folks I know in the Twitch writing community is Game of Tomes

First launched in 2020 to offset the lack of in-person NaNoWriMo events due to Covid, GoT got (heh) big over the last year. There were a couple of related Tourney of Tales events that coincided with Camp NaNo events in April and July and those drew in a lot of new folks. I’m excited to see what happens (though nervous about the chances of my chosen house – House Meles – surviving past the first attack of the Undead Horde). I know I’m not the backbone of the house by far, but I still feel super guilty about the fact that I’ve been seriously slacking in my word contributions the first few days of the month, only adding 1,225 words total for the first and second. In my defense, I was taking tickets at the Chiefs game on Monday night, so by the time I got home, I was 100% done. And since I tend to write in Coffee’s and Closet Forge’s streams, I didn’t do any wording before the game, so…yeah. It was less than ideal.

The other reason my word count has been so abysmal actually ties in to the reason I began writing this post in the first place. Hooray for segues! 

According to the rules of NaNoWriMo, you are to start fresh on a new work at the beginning of November and write 50k words in that project by the end of the month. That was great and all when I didn’t really do any writing outside of the event. Now, though? Well, it’s kind of a pain. A couple of years ago, I actually used the month to do the initial round of edits on Out in the Black. The rough draft was finished and just sitting there while I moved on to other things. Forcing the issue and beginning the revision process as my NaNoWriMo project in 2019 was a hell of a lot more challenging than dumping another 50,000 words into a new WIP would have been.

And look! It worked! I finished and actually published the damn book.

Last year, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to work on. I’d been grinding away on OitB edits and trying to rough out the sequel, so I decided to use November to break out into something fresh. And I allowed the people in a few discord servers I frequent to vote on what that would be. The winner ended up being “a vampire thing that is barely even thought out,” so for those who think vamps are over, my discord friends beg to differ. 

2020 was not my first foray into vampire fiction. Back in 2018, a meme went around on Twitter; it was one of those things with words or phrases in three columns that used your name or birth month or something like that to decide which item you got from each column. The point was to determine the title of your YA novel and my results were “Boys, Vampires, and Other Impossible Ordeals.” I immediately decided that was going to be the title of my NaNoWriMo project that year and I was going to actually write it as Young Adult fiction. Yes, me, Stormy, the international smut peddler, was trying to writing a book geared toward teens. Let me tell you – it was a struggle. I hit my 50k word mark (51,134 to be exact) and dropped it like a hot potato at the end of the month.

BUT I digress.

So. 2020. I went into November with only the vaguest of vague ideas about writing some sort of vampire something. It took some time to get it flowing, but once I figured out kind of where it was taking me, I did okay. Ending the month with 50,603 words wasn’t ideal, but the goal was accomplished and that was good enough. Especially since I was more than ready to do final edits and get OitB on its way. Fast forward to August or September of this year and I was talking about writing in general and NaNoWriMo/Game of Tomes in particular on one of my gaming streams. After summarizing last year’s project as “an asexual social just vampire meant to subvert the trope of vampires as hypersexual creatures while playing with the whole SJW bullshit,” the people in my chat were alllll about reading it. The enthusiasm took me by surprise; by the end of the stream, I had committed to being a “NaNo Rebel” once again and continuing the project during this year’s event. 

NaNoWriMo Rebel badge that reads You earned this badge by declaring yourself a NaNo Rebel. Now don those sunnies and get ready for November.

If I’m going into a project with a 50,000+ word head start, you’d think I wouldn’t have trouble getting started, right? And I may not. However, with everything going on in October, I kind of didn’t think to actually prepare myself for November so, when the first hit, I still had not re-read what I wrote last year to familiarize myself with the characters and plot, etc. I am a panster, through and through.

NaNoWriMo Pantser badge that reads Outlines? Who needs 'em? You're a pantser!

That is what I’ve been doing for the last couple of days, though – reading and making notes to eventually allow me to continue to the story. So far, that has been the extent of my NaNoWriMo 2021 contribution: 412 words of notes. I’m really movin’!

On the positive side, I’m not hating what I put down last fall, so there is a real chance I’ll be okay to continue where I left off without cringing too hard. Fingers crossed and all that.

There you have it: a behind-the-scenes look at my National Novel Writing Month process. Fascinating, I know.

Categories: the process

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Stormy Lane McKnight

Writer of trashy queer superhero romance, smutty sci-fi, and other things that are gay af. Disaster enby and all around bisexual wrecking ball.